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From Sanitarium to Sanctuary: Get to Know the Isolated Bayview Park

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Photo via <a href="">Patricia Chang</a>
Photo via Patricia Chang

We all love Golden Gate Park and Dolores Park, but did you know San Francisco has over 220 parks and open spaces? Curbed SF wants to bring fame and glory to some of the smaller, lesser-known parks, and we're doing so with our series Park Life. Each week we'll spotlight a different San Francisco park or open space, and bring you all the details you need to plan a visit.

[Photo via Patricia Chang]

Located near Candlestick point, this large park was nearly lost -- twice. First, developers attempted to make the area into an elite enclave for the wealthy around 1900, but plans were abandoned when the land was deemed to be too far from downtown. A new plan was subsequently drawn up for an isolation hospital in 1902. However, wealthy land-owner Charles Crocker (as in Crocker-Amazon) didn't like the idea of a "pest house" located near his real estate, so he donated his portion of the hilltop to the city on the condition that the hospital not be built. Together, the two plots became what is now Bayview Park. Over 90 years later, in 1997, the park was expanded by 16 acres. Where it's located: In the Bayview area above Candlestick Point, with its main entrance on Key Avenue.

What it features: This park is geared towards nature and wildlife, so don't expect your classic park amenities. The rugged park is mostly left to grow free, except for a paved trail running a loop that begins and ends at Key Avenue.

How to get there: With its isolated location in the south-eastern corner of the city the only way to get here without a car is the T-Third Street line. Take the light rail to the Le Conte station and plan to walk a few blocks to find the park entrance on Key Avenue.

Dogs allowed?: Dogs are allowed, but the on-leash rule applies.

Don't miss: A chance to see actual wildlife in San Francisco. Known as "perhaps the most diverse assemblage of plants and animals in the natural areas system," the park is home to many thriving plant and animal species. Coastal scrub, eucalyptus, Islais cherry and wildflower dominate the flora, while garter snakes, red-tailed hawks, great horned owls and woodpeckers are commonly spotted animals.
·Bayview Park [SF Rec and Parks]
·Bayview Park [SF Parks Alliance]